Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eating veggies on a tight budget

Although I have promised some money saving ideas for the month of February, I have received a special request from a friend of mine who is a vegetarian.  She is looking for some exciting delicious recipes which extoll the virtues of fruits and veggies.  So I am going to attempt both in this article.  I have included one recipe today, but I intend to add more each week.

First of all, I live in Northern California.  Which makes me fortunate in the sense that we have a climate which allows for year round  food production, wider availability of organic foods and better priced produce.  That being said, I do realize that in some states, produce can be ridiculously expensive.  But, there are some options:

1.  Do some research.  Find out what foods are grown locally in your climate, and what is in season throughout the year.  Eating seasonal, local produce will generally save you money.

2.  Check to see if your town has a farmer's market.  You can usually find great deals, and you are supporting your local economy.  An added bonus is that these farmers have great knowledge of the foods they sell, ask them for recommendations.

3.  Grow your own.  My grandmother said that anyone can grow a tomato plant.  She was right.  They are hearty plants that are hard to kill.  Try growing some herbs as well. Rosemary grows like crazy, with minimal care and it taste great with a variety of foods.

4.  When in doubt, go frozen.  There are some great deals on frozen veggies.  In fact,  my store offers organic frozen veggies.  You can always clip coupons for these.  Remember , if your store has double coupons, and customer loyalty cards, be sure to use them.

5.  As far as clipping coupons goes:  Here is a tip!  Be sure that every Sunday, you grab three or four Sunday papers, clip every coupons and check out the specials for your local store.  You can also get coupons online.  There are many free sites.  My favorite is  Never use a site that charges a fee.  I also understand that there are some programs that send you downloadable codes for discounts.  I'll be trying those soon and I'll post a review.


Orzo with veggies and  creamy parmesean sauce 


One pound orzo  ( a rice shaped pasta)
3 tablespoons Olive oil
two garlic cloves, peeled, finely diced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped - Maui or Vidalia
1 can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesean cheese, freshly shredded
1 cup frozen peas
fresh ground pepper 
1 cup frozen broccoli ( make sure this is in small bite size pieces) 

In a large pot of boiling salted water add orzo cook until tender, but just slightly firm.  About 8 minutes

In a saute pan, saute your onion and garlic in the olive oil until onion becomes translucent.  Then add the diced tomatoes, saute with the onions for another 8 minutes.  add the cream add the cream and the parmesean, when the cheese has melted, add the cooked orzo toss, until evenly coated.  Then toss in the frozen peas and broccoli.  The heat from the pasta will  warm up the peas and broccoli.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I personally love this dish very peppery.  This serves about 4 to 6 people as a side dish, 3 to 4 as a main course.


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